Friday, November 27, 2009
Let me start by saying that a twenty pound turkey is huge!
Twenty pounds of turkey is definitely bigger than a kids head! We had not had a 30 inch oven and range before this year in the apartment so we had to go all out and cook the biggest things we could find. The bird came out moist and tasty and I have to say that since I have always been a 10-12 pound fowl man myself, thinking that the big birds were dry, this exceeded my expectations - it did sit in a delicious brine of thyme, rosemary and juniper berries for 48 hours - and it was heavily injected with rosemary butter and basted throughout the cooking process - maybe that had something to do with it. There was cornbread stuffing, and green beans and fresh cranberry sauce to accompany the turkey and fine accompaniments they were.
There was noshing to be done before diving into the turkey, though. Black olives stuffed with thyme and chevre were a big hit. A sleeper as they say in big hit terms. The familiar flavor of the black olive was perfect with the soft tang of the chevre balanced gently with the thyme and drizzled with good olive oil and sea salt. I am pleased with this new idea I came up with.
Shrimp cocktail has become de riguer with any amount of feasting we do whether large or small. My son could easily make a meal out this alone and he is the reason for its popularity. Steamed in a dense broth of celery, onion, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper the shrimp had a complex flavor that was as light as a feather and perfect for dipping into the chipotle, horesradish and green onion cocktail sauce.
Wild Alaska salmon smoked with applewood cant be as bad as it sounds - ha, just kidding it was as good as it sounds. Regular old cream cheese and green onions with a little of this salmon on a toasted round of sour dough was about all I needed.
Oyster stew has become a tradition for our Thanksgiving meal and while there are a myriad of recipes for it out there I tend to make it any way I want each and every time - but then again it is only shallots, herbs (thyme in this case since it is our showcase herb this year) butter, sherry if you want, salt/pepper shucked oysters and milk all simmered to perfection.
When you have historically made the best mashed potatoes and you are usually recruited by friends and family to recreate the masterpiece year after year you become a tough act to follow. I am that act and I follow that act with the same dignity and grace that I have done for years. There is nothing special besides my caring hand that I add to the salted and boiled potatoes - sure there is some thyme, cream cheese and a lot of butter and cream but thats it really.
Soft, creamy mashed potatoes are an art.
The cheese plate started as huge slabs of gorgonzola picante, st. agur, thyme encrusted chevre, brie, boursin, some dried figs and apricots and a few crackers.
Made more manageable by putting out smaller pieces the board was less intimidating.
Put boursin in front of my kid and you can pretty much bid it adieu!
We drank Malbec, Proseco, Montepulciano D' Abruzzo, a crisp Sauvignon Blanc and my favorite St. Emillion throughout the courses and each libation loved its chewable counterpart but this dense chocolate and pumpkin pie was was the star of the show in my book.
Creamy pumpkin on a pillow of molten chocolate brownie is a dessert I will be duplicating.
This isnt to say that the flan that refused to release from the mold and the pear tart werent good too because they most definitely were! We will be eating leftovers for days and there will be no complaints. I hope everyone out there has a chance to feast to their fill!
Posted by Christo Gonzales at 7:51 AM